When I look in the mirror, I’m actually okay with what I see. It’s the pictures and angles that make me feel so self-conscious. When I’m feeling insecure about my body image, I always remind myself of the following (yes, I pep talk myself):
“Jeanette, this is your body. The one body you were given life into. Love yourself.”
“You work out so hard to feel good and in hopes to inspire those around you. Don’t give up the hard work.”
“Girl you chose this outfit! You look great! Now go on and rock it!”
My best friend is my photographer 90% of the time. Every time she takes a picture of me, I’ve asked “Wait! Is my belly hanging out? Do I look fat?” She rolls her eyes at me and tells me I need to stop asking those kinds of questions. The tone of voice that she takes clearly states that she is very much annoyed with the questions and my lack of confidence.
It’s so easy to consume yourself into a black box of thoughts, but the most important thing to remember is to build the courage to step out of your comfort zone. Let it be a constant reminder that beauty comes in all sizes, ages, genders, etc. Celebrate and praise your own body at all times.
This year, I made two goals for myself. Work out harder than ever and to build confidence. I’ve kept up with both so far. I do have “off” days- everyone does and it’s normal. These kinds of goals don’t just magically grant themselves overnight. They take time. So, trust the path that you’ve created for yourself and trust time. It sounds silly, but I highly recommend the pep talk and making goals for your road to self-love.
Sweaty palms, teary eyes, there’s vomit on her sweater already…. (maybe mom’s spaghetti). She’s nervous, but on the surface she looks calm and ready. YES. I totally just switched Eminem’s rap around to talk about my eating disorder. BULIMIA.
When did it start?
I was a junior in high school. I had faced body image issues ever since Kindergarten- when my teacher poked fun at me for eating two slices of pizza at my age. I did dancing as a sport for years, but I couldn’t understand why the other girls around me looked petite, and why I was taller and a little more filled in.
In the beginning, I immediately started losing weight. In 2009, my sister noticed that my clavicle bones were actually noticeable. A couple of friends at the time noticed that my big butt had pretty much disappeared. My disorder lasted for a year and a half. Once I got to college, I let go of my nasty little habit for a bit and gained DOUBLE the weight. I was at my heaviest, 170lbs!
After what I thought was a horrible breakup back in 2011, I started purging yet again. Only to realize that this time, I wasn’t losing anything. Something that people don’t understand is that bulimia isn’t skinny nor fat. It’s an eating disorder that prevents weight gain. It’s a feeling of being out of control during binge-eating episodes.
I was always feeling agitated, so I started throwing in intense workouts in the mix as well as diet pills. At age 24, I was down to 140 lbs., but looked insanely tired. It was not attractive at all.
When did it end?
To be honest, I’ve never really idolized anyone for their body type/image. However, I battle eating disorders every day. Over time, I’ve gotten better…. but I’m afraid the thought is still always lingering. It will always be a part of me. However, I’ve been “free” of purging for months now.
My frustration now is that I work out twice as hard, but can’t shed the weight off. I guess what’s important to remind myself of is that I am in fact strong. I work out to be stronger- mind + body.
I have bad dating juju. However, I totally see how my body image addiction has an effect to my dating life and relationships around me. My relationship with running/working out, is a full commitment and I’m totally proud of it.
What does freedom mean?
It doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t mean I’ve mastered my way out of bulimia. I just have a better hold/control of myself.
I’m hoping to get the courage to write about my insecurities to help other women who face body image issues. It’s important to find your inner strength and lead a healthy lifestyle. Easier said then done, but baby steps are always a start.